The impact of measles:
The transmission of measles occurs through direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne droplets when an infected patient breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
The virus under the family of Paramyxoviridae causes measles, also known as Rubeola, which is a highly contagious viral infection. Humans are the only natural host of the measles virus.
The transmission of measles occurs through direct contact with infectious droplets or by airborne droplets when an infected patient breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The virus can remain infectious in the air and surfaces for up to 2 hours, making it easy to contract the infection in crowded areas.
Furthermore, an infected person is contagious from 4 days before through 4 days after the appearance of rash. The symptoms of measles typically appear 10 to 14 days after exposure.
The first sign of measles is usually high-grade fever. Other symptoms that accompany the fever are cough, colds, red & watery eyes, and rash that appears from the face downward to the trunk & legs.
Complications and who are at risk
Serious complications are common in children under 5 years-old or adults above 30 years-old. Following, the complications reported include severe diarrhea & dehydration, ear infections, respiratory infections such as pneumonia. The more serious complications are blindness and brain swelling.
Those at high risk for severe illness, complications and even death are infants and children <5 years old, pregnant women, the immunocompromised and the unvaccinated individuals. Most measles-related deaths occur in low-income countries and those with weak health infrastructures.
There is no specific treatment for measles. Treatment is supportive given to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. This may include:
- Paracetamol or Ibuprofen – given for fever and pain
- Vitamin A – given to reduce the risk of developing severe measles infection, morbidity and mortality
- Oral rehydration solution (ORS) – for dehydration, especially if with diarrhea and persistently high grades of fever.
- Antibiotics – may be given to treat concomitant bacterial eye or ear infections and bacterial Pneumonia.
It pays to be informed
Consulting with a healthcare professional can help individuals make informed decisions about their health and the health of their communities.
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